Tuesday 25 October 2011

Swn Festival Cardiff Review

I never know what to make of these 'festival in a city' type events. I visited Dot to Dot in Bristol once and vowed never to go again. Bands clashed. Venues were miles apart. Maybe I was missing something but there was no real vibe there for me.
It seems Swn have managed things very well though. Apart from the one venue (Chapter) everything was relatively close together and there was very few clashes. Thanks Swn!

So after spending what felt like a lifetime at Uni all day I was finally free. And first up for me on Thursday was Yaaks. A band I'd not previously heard prior to the festival but after hearing great things online made the effort to check them out. Far from a let down. A brilliant live performance. Great instrumentation and a high energy buzz throughout.

Apart from catching a short few songs from Herman Dune and the 'surprise' guest which turned out to be Charlotte Church's new band, the opening night was done for me. Friday was filled with Two Wounded Birds. Good music but the vocals weren't sounding all that great. The band seem to be progressing and I'm sure they'll be dialled soon when they iron out a few things. The lead singer recovered well from 2 technicals with the guitar cable falling out mid song. Overall a joy to watch. Gross magic. Another fun band I've been wanting to check out for quite some time. Rather good live. A brilliant blend of noisy pop and shoegaze goodness. Rounding up my Friday was the ever so good Theme Park. Slowly becoming my favourite band after being introduced to them a short while ago. They have bounced from strength to strength and continue to amaze. Great vibes form the Welsh crowd too really appreciating their feel good music. I hope there is an album to look forward to soon.

Two Wounded Birds

Gross Magic

Theme Park
Saturday was a shameful day on my part. I missed a few bands I wanted to see mainly including Eagulls who I was really looking forward to. I did however get the chance to finally witness Daughter. Breathtakingly good. A ghostly charm. Her hauntingly soft voice sending chills from head to toe. It was a shame there was some feedback issues but the sound technician seemed to be on the ball fixing the problem quickly. The band laughed off in their charming way. Definitely the highlight of the festival.
So to the final day. After going a little too overboard Saturday night at Clwb Ifor Bach I was feeling a little worse for wear come Sunday morning. After mulling over the decision of weather to go stay in bed the 'man up and go enjoy the final day' came to surface. It's a shame the same can't be said for the rest of the festival goers. Upon arriving at Buffalo Bar to see a favourite of mine 'Famy' I soon learned I may actually be the only one watching the show. Thankfully a small handful of people did eventually surface. It's a shame really as Famy put on an excellent display with their distinctive shouted harmonies and mystical atmosphere.
After another awkward wait with very few attendees Torches took to the stage after Famy. Despite the poor turnout a great show was put on with top class flailing by the lead singer which is always a nice sight. It sure makes a change to super stiff musicians who only manage to utter a grunt of thanks between songs.
Closing the festival for me that evening was the super talented Lucy Rose. After seeing her perform briefly with Bombay Bicycle Cub a week previous I was much looking forward to catching her own set. A beautiful soft voice that still manages to slice through your heart. Lucy Rose seems more than just your typical acoustic/folk singer songwriter. Her music has that edgy feel, the same feeling I get when listening to Bombay. A very intimate and heart warming show. Smiles all around.

Lucy Rose
With its live seminars, bands and other activities dotted around the city Swn has managed to capture the true essence of the UK's developing music scene with under the radar and breakthrough artists. With some improvements on the sound front and maybe the addition of a shuttle bus service to the further afield venues (Chapter) Swn could be on to a great thing. Hopefully the Welsh crowd can see this too and the festival can continue to grow from strength to strength.


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